VERONICA KANE DICKSON
BSc Hons University of Ottawa
PhD Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

 

Biographical summary
Veronica Kane Dickson is a structural biologist with interests in membrane proteins, and in particular ion channels. She has used a range of biophysical techniques to study three ion channels to date: the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR); the mitochondrial ATP synthase (F1Fo-ATPase); and most recently, the eukaryotic calcium-activated chloride channel, Bestrophin. These techniques include three dimensional protein crystallography, electron microscopy and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, among others.

Her interests in the structure and function of integral membrane proteins took hold during her undergraduate studies, where her first exposure to the field included a study of the then newly described potassium channel. Being extremely interested in this work, she decided to pursue structural biology as her research topic and her honours year included the study of changes in conformations of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. The project included purification from the electroplax tissue of Torpedo californica and reconstitution in to lipid membranes for the development of methods to study very small samples of reconstituted purified protein by FT-IR.

Dr. Kane Dickson’s interest in three dimensional protein structure was realised in Cambridge while studying for her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Sir John E. Walker at the MRC. It was here that she was afforded a wealth of resources including facilities, guidance, and colleagues to explore the structure of a key part of the mammalian ATP synthase known as the peripheral stalk, or stator. After adding to the atomic description of F1Fo by achieving the first 3D crystallographic structure of this important component as her doctoral work, she carried out a short post-doc here aiming to elucidate some of the structure of the extremely hydrophobic membrane domain.

Veronica joined the laboratory of Dr. Steve Long at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s SKI to attain the crystallographic structure of a novel ion channel. Her research here focused on Bestrophin; a chloride channel activated by calcium binding. Her efforts were rewarded with a high resolution structure, achieved by crystallization in the presence of monoclonal antibody fragments, published in Nature (December 11, 2014 issue).

The full curriculum vitae of Dr Veronica Kane Dickson, detailing her relevant work, is available here.